Nikon 1 Mirrorless Camera Reviews

We’ve reviewed the following Nikon 1 cameras (lowest to highest; click on the linked camera names below to be taken to the review):

  • J1 — small, consumer-oriented compact-style body (first generation)
  • J5 — small, consumer-oriented compact-style body (fourth generation)
  • AW1 — essentially an underwater version of the J3 (second generation)
  • V1 — enthusiast-oriented DSLR-style body (built-in EVF) (first generation)
  • V2 — enthusiast-oriented DSLR-style body (built-in EVF) (second generation)
  • V3 — enthusiast-oriented hybrid-style body (optional EVF) (third generation)

So What Would Thom Get? Today? None. Because the line-up is dead and no longer produced, and most of the Nikon 1 gear is no longer repaired by NikonUSA. But if you can get past that and want to buy used, consider the following.

For me the choice used to be simple: V2 or V3. While at first glance the feature lists seem remarkably the same, the V1 and especially the V2 handle like a small DSLR, while the V3 is more like a rangefinder compact. The V2 has better user controls than the V1, the V3 expands on that though in a very different body style. The J1 (and J2, J3, J4, J5, S1, S2, and AW1) handles like a large compact camera. 

A small DSLR is useful, while a large compact is a bit of an oxymoron. Thus, the V2 was probably the best of the bunch in terms of making for a unique product with a real niche. The V3 is a better camera in terms of image quality and some fine level controls, though. But it’s kind of a kludgey the way it requires an optional EVF to get to DSLR-like status. 

All that said, the best camera Nikon produced in this line was the J5. Other than the fact that it was basically a large compact camera, it was the best in terms of image quality. Meanwhile, the AW1 sits in a very unique niche—underwater photography—and is what Thom used for a waterproof camera when it came out.

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